Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed on Tuesday the importance of the sixth round of the Astana talks on Syria that will focus on the future of the region of Idlib.

He told reporters as he returned to Turkey from a trip to Kazakhstan: “The operation in Idlib is ongoing according to a previous agreement with Russia. We have no dispute with Russia over this. We also have no dispute with Iran over this.”

“I believe that the fruitful contact between these three countries will continue after Astana,” he added.

“I can say that the sixth round of Astana will witness many positive developments, especially over Idlib,” he stated in reference to efforts to expel al-Qaeda affiliates from the Syrian district.

The sixth round of talks is set to kick off on Wednesday.

Turkish military sources had revealed on Monday that Turkey’s preparations for a wide military operation in Idlib had reached their final phases.

Russia also backs this operation, which could also include Afrin that is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units that are affiliated with Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

Diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ankara, Moscow and Tehran are in agreement over the Idlib operation.

In addition, Turkish television on Monday reported on the training of Free Syrian Army factions and Turkish forces in northern Syria that will take part in the Idlib and Afrin operations.

Separately, Erdogan denied claims that he had met in Kazakhstan with Syrian regime head Bashar Assad.

He told reporters: “I did not meet Assad and I have no intention to meet him either.”

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